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Irony Of Timing On Foreshore And Seabed Proposals

7 April 2004

Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu claims the Government should be embarrassed and ashamed of its duplicitous behaviour following the announcement today of the proposed legislative framework for resolution of the Foreshore and Seabed issue.

"It is incredibly ironic that the Government should propose legislation today that impinges on the rights of Iwi when less than one month ago a New Zealand Government delegation stood before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and made the statement that this country has 'always been resolute in its pursuit of human rights internationally' and that 'we want the international community and this Commission to play a more active role in ensuring that human rights standards are not only universally accepted but also universally applied'. Today we have seen the Government show its true colours and they certainly do not seem to align with the views that the New Zealand delegation espoused internationally," said Mark Solomon Kaiwhakahaere of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu.

"The Government's presentation before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights highlighted the situation in Zimbabwe. 'In the past year, we have noted with dismay actions to restrict the freedoms of speech and assembly and the continuing undermining of the rule of law and erosion of the independence of the judiciary and the media'. Yet, the proposals announced by the Government today completely undermine the rule of law in this country. They discriminate against Maori because they extinguish our property right and they interfere or halt the rule of law in this country.

"This issue started in the Courts and it should have been allowed to run its course and be resolved through appropriate legal process. We cannot stand before the International community and assert our commitment to human rights issues in March and then remove the right for our indigenous people to have proper access to the courts in April," concluded Mr Solomon.

Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu Press Release

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